Rutte: Verdonk’s decision was inevitable
16 October 2007, THE HAGUE – VVD faction leader Mark Rutte referred to the decision of MP Rita Verdonk to give up her party membership as "inevitable". The members of the VVD faction used the same word, although they also called Verdonk’s resignation "a pity" and "sad". Party chairman Jan Zanen said he "respected" Verdonk’s decision.
16 October 2007
THE HAGUE – VVD faction leader Mark Rutte referred to the decision of MP Rita Verdonk to give up her party membership as "inevitable". The members of the VVD faction used the same word, although they also called Verdonk’s resignation "a pity" and "sad". Party chairman Jan Zanen said he "respected" Verdonk’s decision.
Former party leader Hans Wiegel feels however that the resignation of the popular former minister of alien affairs " extremely bad" for the party. He blames the party executive for not having properly thought through the consequences of this move.
VVD town councillor Jan Talen from Staphorst, who had already started an action to retain Verdonk for the VVD, wants to submit a motion of no-confidence against the party executive at the next party members' meeting. In the coming period he will be seeking as much support among the VVD members as possible.
Verdonk announced her decision to give up her VVD membership on the current affairs TV programme NOVA on Monday night, ninety minutes after the party executive had issued its ultimatum. Verdonk was forced to choose between renouncing her party membership and giving up her seat in parliament before Friday.
Verdonk was expelled from the party a month ago after having openly criticised the course of the party and party leader Rutte on various occasions. The meeting of party members supported the decision to expel Verdonk. But the party members also called on the party executive to retain Verdonk for the VVD.
Verdonk refused however to give up her seat in parliament which had led to an "unworkable situation" according to Rutte. A meeting between Verdonk and several honorary VVD members did not result in a solution either. The party executive therefore decided to force a decision on Monday.
Rutte denied that he was relieved now that Verdonk had resigned. "Relief is the wrong word after we as a party have been through such a difficult period." Rutte is however, satisfied with the clarity that has now arisen. "A choice had to be made. It is now important that the VVD will get 'its act together' and lead the opposition against this terrible government."
Rutte is not afraid that the party will spit-up following the resignation of Verdonk, who won 620,000 preferential votes in the latest general election. From the meetings that he had with VVD branches during the past few weeks Rutte concluded that a "very large majority" of the members will remain loyal to the party.
A spokesperson for the VVD said that the party had received many negative reactions on Monday night but a great many people had also expressed their support.
Verdonk did not say on Monday whether she wanted to start her own party. Insiders believe that she will.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]
Subject: Dutch news